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Stanley Melbourne Bruce

Australia’s eighth Prime Minister is also the second youngest. He was a decorated war hero before he became Prime Minister in 1923. Stanley Melbourne Bruce was perfectly suited to the elegance and confidence of his period – the ‘Roaring Twenties’.

The PM and Ethel Bruce welcome the Duke and Duchess of York

The Prime Minister (front centre) and Ethel Bruce (front right) welcome the Duke and Duchess of York (front left and front centre), arriving at Canberra’s tiny railway station for the celebration of the opening of Parliament House Canberra in May 1927.

NAA: A6180, 20/5/74/41

In office for six years, his government sought management of imperial trade in Australia’s interests and a voice for Australia in shaping British Imperial foreign policy. His uncompromising stand on industrial relations brought down his government in 1929.

Ethel Bruce was as stylish and dignified a figure as her husband. She fulfilled her official tasks with aplomb, both at home and abroad. As the first tenants of the official prime ministerial residence in the new capital city, the Bruces left their mark on the form and style of The Lodge.

SM Bruce became Australia’s longest-serving High Commissioner in London and his work at the League of Nations laid the foundations of enduring international agencies.

The highest of the many official honours he earned was his peerage and from 1947 he was titled Lord Bruce of Melbourne. His chosen coat of arms features two Australian lyrebirds and the motto ‘We have been faithful’.

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